Our intrepid beat reporters reported in reports Wednesday that Bruce Bochy sat down with Aaron Rowand to explain his benching. I suppose a personal explanation is the gentlemanly way to go, and let's hope that Rowand didn't puzzle over it too much. There's really not much to explain.
For me the incident underscores how seriously Bochy takes the act of removing a gamery veteran from the lineup: Rowand has sat all of, what, three games? Four? It also underscores how deliberately Bochy will approach the process of extracting Bengie Molina from the lineup, if indeed that's the direction he's headed. (Don't bet your life insurance policy on it.)
Buster Posey hit his first major-league home run Wednesday night to give the Giants a short-lived 2-1 lead. As Sabes noted this week, Buster's not going anywhere. Yes, he's doing a nice job at first base, but it's time to start putting a real transition plan in place. It'll be easier for Bochy to ease out Molina if there's a superficially
logical pattern (Posey is hitting .675 in weekday games!) or an inescapable phenomenon to blame, akin to Whiteside's apparent mind-meld with Sanchez.
Especially back home, where Nate Schierholtz really should be logging
more outfield time, the Posey-at-first, Huff-in-the-OF maneuver should
not wear out its welcome. More Nate's legs = fewer balls up Triples Alley; More Nate's arm = fewer baserunners advancing.
Because Boch, the veteran junkie, isn't going cold turkey, here's a recommendation: Bengie catches Lincecum and Cain, Posey catches Zito and Wellemeyer (or later in the year, Bumgarner), and Whiteside continues to caddy for Jonathan Sanchez. Let's do that through June.
I was also about to recommend starting Nate at home except against tough LHP, but then I looked at his career splits. Career vs. RHP: .255 / .300 / .371. Career vs. LHP: .384 / .422 / .552. Since his 2007 debut he's had nearly a full season of plate appearances against righties, only 136 PA's against lefties, so perhaps there's some sample-size weirdness going on there, but you have to wonder. At the very least, start Nate in right against lefties.
I'll give Bochy some credit. He has done the right thing in sitting Rowand. He's bowed to the indisputable clamp Andres Torres has put on the leadoff spot. He's kept the young and wayward Pablo Sandoval in the lineup everyday despite a slump that because of his horrible production with runners on base is more profound than the superficial numbers show. He's put Posey at first. Bruce is making progress on the veteran addiction. We're here to encourage him. C'mon, Boch, you can do it.